Question Everything is a residential summer philosophy program for high school students from Holyoke and Springfield, Massachusetts. Participants spend two weeks on the UMass Amherst campus to get a taste of college and explore life’s big questions. They live in university dormitories, eat in UMass’s award-winning dining halls, and have access to recreational facilities and libraries. During the weekdays, they gather with program instructors to discover exciting philosophical issues in a fun and supportive environment through dialogue, role-play, debates, and research projects. On evenings and during the weekend, the students participate in social activities and college preparedness programming organized by UMass’s Summer Programs office.
This academic summer program targets students from lower-income families as well as students from racial or ethnic groups that are underrepresented in higher education. All admitted participants will automatically receive a full scholarship that covers room, board, fees, all academic and social activities, and transportation. Question Everything aims to foster a college-going mindset in participants, increase their intellectual curiosity, improve their critical thinking and reasoning abilities, and help them understand the college application process.
Each year, Question Everything will focus on questions that are subsumed under a specific theme. The pilot program, which will take place in July 2021, has “Identity and Diversity” as its theme. Participants will explore questions such as:
- What makes us who we are?
- To what extent is our identity up to us, and to what extent do other people, our genes, and our environment determine who we are?
- What are racial, ethnic, cultural, and gender identities, and how important are these identities?
- What makes material objects, such as cars and houses, the same objects at different times, even when they undergo radical changes?